Nathan Rabin invented the phrase "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" in 2007 after seeing the film Elizabethtown, starring Kirsten Dunst. His goal was to point out a "fundamentally sexist" film trope centering around a male fantasy "of being saved from depression and ennui by a fantasy woman who sweeps in like a glittery breeze." Little did Rabin know how the phrase would catch on: It's since been mentioned numerous times in all kinds of publications and even used as the title of a young adult novel and a musical, he writes at Salon.
"By giving an idea a name and a fuzzy definition, you apparently also give it power. And in my case, that power spun out of control," Rabin writes. Now, "calling a character a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is nearly as much of a cliché as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope." What's more, the term has itself been fairly accused of being sexist: Nuanced female characters are suffering under a catch-all label that suggests they're just "some sad dude’s regressive fantasy." "At this point in my life, I honestly hate the term," Rabin writes. "Manic Pixies, it’s time to put you to rest." Click for his full piece. (Read more Nathan Rabin stories.)